5.7/10
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18 user 5 critic

Lights of New York (1928)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Music | 18 July 1928 (USA)
Two men are conned into bootlegging business.

Director:

Bryan Foy
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Helene Costello ... Kitty Lewis
Cullen Landis ... Eddie Morgan
Mary Carr ... Mrs. Morgan
Wheeler Oakman ... 'Hawk' Miller
Gladys Brockwell ... Molly Thompson
Robert Elliott ... Detective Crosby
Eugene Pallette ... Gene
Tom Dugan ... Sam
Tom McGuire ... Collins
Walter Percival Walter Percival ... Jake Jackson
Guy D'Ennery ... Tommy (as Guy Dennery)
Jere Delaney Jere Delaney ... Dan Dickson
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Storyline

A young kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (Costello), a cop-killing gangster boss (Oakman) and his downtrodden ex-girlfriend (Brockwell). Written by rocknrollunderdawg

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

FIRST 100% ALL TALKING PICTURE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 July 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Svetla Njujorka See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first feature film with all synchronous dialogue. See more »

Goofs

In Central Park, one of Kitty's lines is repeated. See more »

Quotes

Hawk Miller: I want you guys to make him disappear.
Sam: Oh. You mean...
Hawk Miller: Take him for a ride.
See more »

Connections

Featured in So You Want a Television Set (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played by the nightclub band for "The Dancing Pirates"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Take him for a ride
28 September 2001 | by tom.hamiltonSee all my reviews

Fascinating and amusingly bad, Lights of New York is the first all talkie feature and one that almost never saw the light of day.

Two naive barbers (Eddie and Gene) from out of town get involved with bootleggers and end up fronting a speak. When a cop is shot by one of the bootleggers the police start to close in, and the Hawk (who shot the officer) decides to pin the murder on Eddie instructing his henchman to "take him for a ride". But it's the Hawk himself who takes the bullet in a twist that will surprise few.

Shot in one week at a cost of $23,000, "Lights" was originally meant as a two reeler but Foy took advantage of Jack Warner's absence to extend it to six. When Warner discovered this he ordered Foy to cut it back to the original short. Only when an independent exhibitor offered $25k for the film, did Warners actually look at the film, which went on to make a staggering $1.3 million.

Seen now this is an extremely hokey piece, with acting that ranges from the passable (Eugene Pallette) to trance like (Eddie's Granny in a particularly risible scene) and much of the playing is at the level of vaudeville. Since it's an early talkie (4 part-talkies preceded it) that's about all the characters do, and very slowly at that. The script feels improvised, visual style is non existent (apart from the shooting scene done in silhouette) and scenes grind on interminably. Title cards are intercut which redundantly announce characters and locales.

Despite all this "Lights" is a compelling experience, as we watch actors and crew struggling with the alien technology, and changing cinema for ever.

Catch it if you can


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